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BT staff are demanding an eight per cent increase in wages to repay them for their "loyalty, hard work and co-operation".

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) - which represents around 54,000 of BT's 100,000 or so workers - has submitted a claim for more pay and allowances to meet the increased cost of living.

The union notes that BT's profits continue to rise, topping more than £1bn for the first half of the year. And although the average wage of BT workers has risen by 24 per cent since 1997, the chief exec's pay packet has swelled by a whopping 162 per cent over the same period, says the union.

"Our claim of eight per cent meets our need to ensure that we raise your level of income realistically while still being well within the company's affordability," said the CWU in a statement.

"BT will not want to meet this level of increase and we anticipate that there will be some very difficult and hard negotiations. BT took a tough stance last year and there is no reason to believe that this year will be any easier," said the union.

No one at BT was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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